A creative space where young people and women who are agricultural entrepreneurs, scientists and technology experts can collaborate to develop cutting-edge ideas across the agriculture value chain has been inaugurated at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre (ATC).
The Business Incubation Hub (BIH) was officially opened on Monday by the European Union (EU) programme manager for agriculture, resilience and job creation, Stephen Wathome, Danish Embassy (Danida) first secretary Sandra Sichlau, Kenya Climate Innovation Centre CEO Edward Mungai and Kisii County Agriculture executive Esman Onsarigo.
The hub’s objective is to provide an enabling environment that fosters innovation and incubation of agribusiness ideas among women and youth. It will also serve the surrounding counties of Nyamira, Narok, Bomet, Kericho, Migori, Kisumu, and Homa Bay.
The Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC), in partnership with the Kisii County government, signed an MOU on February 26, 2021 to implement the Agribiz Programme at the county level, with the first county cohort of 99 businesses on board in June 2021.
That group has been receiving support in business advisory, access to information and finance, mentorship, technical assistance and access to facilities. As a way of ensuring access to facilities for businesses, Kisii ATC was identified to host a hub.
Speaking during the launch, Mr Wathome congratulated KCIC and Kisii County for bringing services closer to local farmers.
“The hub will bring together different service providers from both the public and private sectors to one location from where they can easily access most of the resources and information critical for the growth of their enterprises,” he said.
Ms Sichlau emphasised the importance of the hub for the welfare of youth and women.
“By launching this hub, AgriBiz seeks to see young agripreneurs enabled to increase their production at lower costs and supported to pursue a sustainable growth path for their businesses,” she said.
AgriBiz is an empowerment programme for women and youth in Kenya. It is funded by the European Union and Danida and seeks to support 2,400 individuals and groups to create 20,000 jobs within five years.
The launch brought together several key stakeholders, county government officials and AgriBiz clients.
Mr Onsarigo, the Agriculture executive, said: “Agriculture is a critical part of the county’s economy and investments like these will help us go from strength to strength.”
He said agribusinesses in the region will have access to emerging technologies and services at the early stages of commercial establishments courtesy of the business incubation hub.
AgriBiz clients in Kisii and neighbouring counties will leverage the hub to access business development services, research, proposal writing, capacity development, mentorship, training and empowerment programmes.
“The future is looking bright. KCIC, through the AgriBiz programme, is ready to respond and support agribusiness to address their challenges and embrace new opportunities,” Dr Mungai said.